In 1974, the Ministério da Defesa Brasileiro (Brazilian Ministry of Defense) awarded Fabbrica d’Armi Pietro Beretta the contract for their new 9x19mm service pistol, the Model 92. Part of that contract stipulated that Beretta build a factory in the country and hire Brazilians to manufacture the firearms, so that is exactly what happened.

Beretta set up a factory in São Paulo, Brazil and began to crank out Model 92 pistols for the Brazilian Army. In 1980, the contract expired and Beretta was left with a decision. Do they continue to make Model 92 pistols in Brazil or shutter the plant? Beretta went with a third option; they sold the entire package to Forjas Taurus S/A lock, stock, and barrel.

Taurus already had 39 years of manufacturing history under their belt at that point, starting with their Model 38101SO Revolver in 1941. So acquiring a fully equipped facility and well trained staff that is able to manufacture what was then one of the newest 9mm duty handguns for the Army was a no brainer.

Taurus moved the original Beretta tooling to its factory in the town of Porto Alegre. Which is about 700 miles south of São Paulo. And with that, the Taurus PT-92 was born.

Taurus PT-99 on the left, Beretta Model 92 on the right.

Originally, the PT-92 was a direct continuation of the Beretta 92. The only thing Taurus changed at first was adopting the “combat” trigger guard before Beretta. But everything else was the same. Same barrel, same grips, same safety, same magazine, etc.

Yet not long after the deal was made Beretta began eyeing another military contract. They were going after the America’s XM9 contract to replace the old slab slide in .45 ACP. We can get into whether that was a good move or not another time. We all know that Beretta won that contract. Part of that contract required Beretta to move the magazine release to the spot we are used to, right behind the trigger guard. With that contract, the Italian Stallion got a “combat” trigger guard too.

Seeing this, Taurus updated the PT-92 to be like its Italian cousin. They also moved the magazine release behind the trigger guard. But they did it in their own way. Hence why today, Taurus and Beretta magazines aren’t interchangeable.

Beretta magazine on the left, Taurus mag on the right. Both are 15rds in capacity.

But enough about the history of the gun and how it came into existence right? Let’s get down to the brass tacks.

Why exactly did I want a PT-92AF? Basically because I’m a huge Beretta fan. I have a gaggle of various Model 92FS pistols in different configurations and I always wanted a Taurus because of the frame-mounted safety.

What I lusted after, the frame mounted safety.

But I wanted a specific Taurus, you see. I wanted one that was still made on the original Beretta tooling by the Beretta-trained staff.

Late 1980s Taurus print ad.

I wanted a gun from the era of that advertisement or just after.

In 1997, Taurus radically started to change the PT-92 via numerous cost-cutting measures in manufacturing. Gone were the blued and nickel finishes, the fine slide serrations, and the machined parts from forgings. All were replaced with plastic and MIM parts. Further on down the line, they added their safety lock too. I didn’t want any of that.

No, what I wanted was this . . .

My PT-92AF, made prior to the Clinton Assault Weapons Ban has all the features I wanted. No plastic or MIM parts to be found. 

Made in the early 90s, this particular PT-92AF is just right. It has the frame-mounted ambi-safety which also functions as a decocker, the crisp, fine slide serrations along with the nice blued finish on the slide. All in all, I’m happy with her.

The barrel, guide rod, and locking block all are swappable between Taurus and Beretta.

She takes down like every other Beretta and I’ve even swapped out some parts from my Beretta bin. The guide rod is from Beretta. The factory one is stainless and that went to another gun of mine, my 96G Brigader Elite II. The stainless guide rod looks better there.

Honestly, the gun screams quality. Comparing it to my Berettas, I really see no difference. The gun is the physical manifestation of the promise in this early 90s era ad.

Taurus ad showing off their new stainless .40 S&W chambered PT-100.

I’m a sucker for John Woo films, too. Both the Taurus PT-92 and Beretta 92 get plenty of screen time. Both the Taurus and Beretta just look good on the silver screen.

“I feel the Beretta is a great character,” he says seriously. “It’s so strong and elegant. The other guns look dumb to me.” – John Woo, SPLICED Magazine, June 16, 1997 at the Ritz Hotel in San Francisco.

PT-92 in Hard Boiled.
Chow Yun-Fat in The Killers with a PT-92.

The gun handles just as nicely on the range, too. The sights are typical of the classic 92 pattern. They’re still crisp, rugged, and useful.

The sights are still capable.

I had no problem with it at the 20-yard line at Talon Range in Midway, Florida.

I think the target speaks for itself.

A lot of people talk Taurus guns down. Well, I can tell you that this gun eats everything without a hiccup. No malfunctions whatsoever and I used the two original 15-round magazines made prior to the Clinton ban.

All in all, I am very satisfied with this PT-92AF and I’m glad to have her in my stable. The quality and craftsmanship in this gun rivals that of my Berettas. So don’t turn your nose at a Taurus if you run across one. The early 1990s era guns are real diamonds in the rough.

37 COMMENTS

  1. I’ve still got a 1980s-vintage Taurus 99AF in satin nickel that was my first handgun.

    It still shoots well and reliably every time.

    • The PT-99AFS was one of my first guns. One of the reasons got it is the safety and decocker. Unfortunately, the adjustable rear sight broke, and replacements aren’t available.

      • The PT-92 was the first center-fire pistol I ever shot (mid 1990’s). I shot it with a dear friend who went on to become my brother in law. Sadly we lost my brother in law in a car accident a few years ago. I’m pretty sure his brother still owns and carries that pistol. I still shoot with his dad. Dear friends, the whole family.

        Good pistol too.

  2. Ok, I get shit whenever I bring it out at the range, but t have a nickel P92 C (13 round compact) pre return- from- decock taurus that has never skipped a beat, although I was worried when I first shot it , as one of the factory mags had a feeding issue with occasional stovepipes… Aftermarket Beretta 17 round mags could be made to work with a couple minutes of work with a dremel, and it eats a steady diet of Federal 9bple, even though it’s probably not recommended… AND, Taurus put the safety/ decocker where God intended it to go. Oh yeah, I also have a Federal Arms ported barrel for it that resulted in a federal inquiry that I ignored, not a good idea, as it turns out!! …. yeah, this “P.O.S.” ain’t for sale.

  3. PT92 was my first fully semi-auto back in the 80’s. Since then I’ve had several more and currently have two 917C models. All of them have been flawless and I’d rate the Beretta clone as the best pistol Taurus ever made.

  4. I have a 92AR. After I put a set of wrap-around Hogue grips on it – I love it. This from a guy who normally favors the 1911. It’s just a well built, accurate, low recoil firearm.

    • It is a fine firestik, I just could never shoot it as fast and with the accuracy as I do with a 1911. I do not own one. One of my shooting buddies just loves his.
      Hey its getting close to Janet Renos day of Infamy. You know, to save the children we’ll burn them to death.
      Remember, yeah, ” they” brought military tanks in to do that . If every there was a manly woman Janet Reno is it.
      Gunz

  5. I have no as in 0 problem’s with my Taurus, one one of the first semi auto’s I ever bought new. A satin version with the wood grips, I carried it in a shoulder holster, always worked fine with me. A plus was the life time guarantee.
    Then I got into the compacts & started carrying para’s in 45cal & Star megastar in 9’s. Easier to hide with both being double stack’s for lots of lead without extra mags. I like the Taurus, myself.

  6. I had me a Taurus 92AFS in the late 1990s.

    Stainless slide, aluminum frame, de-cocker, with Pachmyer grips in trade from a guy.

    I liked it well enough, but the thought of that aluminum frame being chewed up by the stainless slide made me sell it.

    Ergo wise, the design was *excellent*. If I found a 92 in all stainless with a de-cocker, I’d seriously consider picking another one up as a house gun…

  7. There’s a lot of love for all metal Tauruses. Heck my current pair of bull’s have been perfect. Basically glocky clones with an identical takedown. I’m not inept which helps…😏😏😏😏😏

  8. I am a Beretta fan boy. Love the 92.

    My experience with Taurus is not good in general.

    The Taurus 92s i handled and shot in the 80s did not bristle with quality. Two examples (friend’s guns) had safety/decocker problems and one would not feet any hollowpoint.

    This has been my experience with Taurus. So while I don’t question the experiences of others who have had good service, I think its speaks to nature of Taurus to be a little random in build quality.

    I talked to a few cops in Brazil who were carrying the PT92 (Curitiba, Londrina, and Campinas). They told me they had just as many guns in reserve with armorer so they could rotate when problems popped up. One noted the higher ranking officers had Beretta 92s or Glocks. One pointed to his Taurus 357 when I asked him what he thought of Taurus autos.

  9. This author doesn’t know what he is talking about regarding the interchangeability of Taurus PT92 and Beretta 92 gun parts. I’ve owned two PT92’s and one PT99. I once compared a PT 92 and a Beretta. Slides are not interchangeable. It was obvious Taurus made changes to prevent that. Without mods, mags are not interchangeable. I don’t remember what else wasn’t the same, but there were other parts. I doubt the author actually tried to interchange slides. I’d like to hear from the author about this.

    • ‘i’D LikE tO HeAr FrOm tHe aUthOr aBoiT ThiS’!, this Karen screams into his computer screen. What a complete choad and 🤡.

    • I said some parts interchange. Not all. And when Taurus first got into the game, the PT92 was the same as the original Beretta 92. But as both designs evolved, parts interchangeability diminished.

      With my PT92 and 92FS, the mainspring, guide rod, guide rod spring, locking block, and barrel are swappable.

      As for the magazines, the original European heel pattern magazines between the two are the same. When Taurus and Beretta went to the American pattern, having the mag catch behind the trigger guard. The compatibility ended.

  10. I’ve had a few Taurus Berretta ‘clones’ in different calibers. They’ve all been really solid shooters. Would recommend again.

  11. The Taurus guns may be ok…… bottom line….. they are a copy of a real firearm…..a poorly made copy at that…. but for third world monkeys to kill each other they work GREAT….
    I’ll stick with my 92fs….. a REAL Beretta…

    • Could you tell me, how many Berettas have suffered catastrophic slide separations or cracks, as compared to the Taurus 92 pattern pistols?

  12. Gun’s are Fun’s, I like Gun’s, all kinda Gun’s, Gun’s, Gun’s , whew!…, gotta take a brake… just got one more thing to say,,, Gun’s are Gun’s….

  13. Luis, you should had gone to the movie reference Romero + Juliet. Nothing but PT92 modded.

    Great reading article. I remember seeing some Taurus magazine with the original heal magazine release.

  14. Couldn’t agree more. I have several Taurus from the 70s through 90s and they were the cream of the crop. Even have a transitional model with heel mag release, round trigger guard, Beretta plastic grips and several beretta grade parts with Taurus marked slide.

    A pair of SS 90s models have been as durable as any Beretta version I’ve owned.

    Too bad Taurus cheeped up their best product.

  15. I have a PT92-C that functions perfectly, it is as slick as a Beretta.

    This one is nickel, I don’t think the PT92-C was ever made in stainless.

    • I don’t know about the PT92C designation being in stainless but they did produce a stainless compact. Same gun but called a 917 CS, S denoting stainless. I have one.

  16. I bought one about 1990. I dont remember shooting it that much but I do remember the adjustable rear sight falling off. At the time there were some reports of slides cracking. I did not have that problem but I sold it anyway. A year or so ago I bought a 2nd hand Beretta 92 that had exactly 1000 factory rnds thru it. 2nd worst trigger I have ever pulled with first place going to a Desert Eagle. Sold the Beretta as well.

  17. The English language title of the movie is “The Killer” (singular). However, the Chinese title translates into “Pair of Blood-Spattered Heroes,” so maybe “The Killers” is more accurate.

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